Thursday, October 28, 2010
Abby Wambach hat trick starts U.S. off right
By Scott French
Hermosa Beach's Abby Wambach is one of the most prolific goalscorers of her generation -- there's also Canada's Christine Sinclair, Germany's Birgit Prinz and Scotland's Julie Fleeting -- and she added to her legacy Thursday night.
Wambach scored her sixth international hat trick and assisted a fourth goal as the U.S. women's national team opened CONCACAF's Women's World Cup qualifying tournament with a 5-0 dismantling of Haiti in Cancun, Mexico. Lake Forest's Amy Rodriguez (Santa Margarita Catholic HS/USC) added a goal, and Redondo Beach's Shannon Boxx (South Torrance HS) had an assist for the Yanks, who have Group B games remaining against Costa Rica and Guatemala.
The goals were Wambach's 110th, 111th and 112th with the U.S., which is expected to claim on CONCACAF's two guaranteed berths in next year World Cup in Germany. The third-place finisher in the regional tournament will meet Italy for an additional berth.
The only surprise in Cancun: The Americans scored only five goals. They outshot the Haitians, 26-5, and even if the world's minnows are making progress every year, a bigger margin of victory should be expected.
"We could have possessed the ball better, but it's the start of the tournament, so I understand that sometimes the team is a little uncomfortable because they haven't played together that much, and sometimes the attack broke down a little too early," U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage said in U.S. Soccer news release. "But five good goals and a win, I'll take that any day."
Former UCLA All-American Lauren Cheney also played for the U.S.
Costa Rica beat Guatemala, 1-0. Group A, with Mexico, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana, begins Friday.